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7 Incredible Zinc Carnosine Benefits for Your Gut

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Zinc carnosine, or zinc L-carnosine, is a chelated compound made from equal parts of zinc and L-carnosine.

Zinc carnosine has gained much attention for its potential to promote a healthy gastrointestinal tract by supporting the integrity of the mucosal lining, protecting against intestinal inflammation and gut permeability, and supporting the healing of gastric ulcers.


Find out if taking zinc carnosine can benefit your gastrointestinal health. 

Human digestive system illustrationWhat is zinc carnosine?

Zinc carnosine is a molecule that’s made by binding a zinc ion to l-carnosine, an amino acid. This complex doesn’t exist in a natural form and has been developed in pharmaceutical laboratories to treat stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal disorders.

The unique ionic structure of the zinc l-carnosine complex has potent effects on intestinal health and stimulates gut repair processes. 

Taking a zinc carnosine supplement is significantly more effective in supporting gut health than elemental zinc supplementation alone. 

A study published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine found “Zinc and l-carnosine is a new generation gastric mucosal protective agent that provides mucosal protection by presenting antioxidant and antiapoptotic effects. It can also inhibit the expression of inflammatory factors and can therefore promote the healing of peptic ulcers.” 

Watch the video below to learn how zinc l-carnosine supports gut health.

Seven benefits of zinc carnosine for your gut

The gastric mucosa, or mucous membrane, plays a crucial role in gastrointestinal health. 

It's the innermost layer of the intestinal lining that covers almost all parts of the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and large bowel. 

The mucosal layer plays a vital role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, protects the gut from the harsh acidity of stomach acid and invading microbes, and prevents digestive enzymes from breaking down intestinal tissue. 

However, alcohol, bacterial infections, stress, and medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, and steroids can damage gastric mucosal cells, which impairs normal gut function and can trigger various gastrointestinal disorders. 

Zinc carnosine has been found to readily enter gastric epithelial cells and promotes the regeneration of damaged cells, which explains why this zinc complex has such potent gut healing properties.

Here are seven ways zinc carnosine benefits gut health.

1. Promotes healthy gut mucus

Zinc, an essential mineral, has long been known to support a healthy intestinal lining, and these beneficial effects are amplified when combined with l-carnosine.

Zinc carnosine readily enters mucosal cells, where it stimulates mucin production. Mucins are proteins that make up the protective mucus layer in the gastrointestinal tract which serves as a first-line defense barrier against harmful pathogens, chemicals, and other environmental toxins.

2. Gastric ulcers

Zinc carnosine may be particularly beneficial for individuals prone to stomach ulcers.

Research published in Nutrients found that zinc carnosine reduces intestinal inflammation and stimulates the regeneration of the gastric mucosa, a crucial step in the healing of a gastric ulcer.

“Taking zinc carnosine can lower the risk of Helicobacter pylori, a pathogenic bacteria that can survive the acidity of stomach acid,” explains Dr. Berg. “H. pylori triggers local inflammation within the gastric lining and is linked to an increased risk of developing a gastric ulcer.” 

3. Gastroesophageal reflux disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is characterized by the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.

Zinc carnosine may help maintain the integrity of the esophageal mucosal lining and reduces the tissue damage caused by stomach acid reflux.

In addition, taking zinc carnosine has been found to maintain normal stomach acid secretion, which may reduce excessive acid production and alleviate GERD symptoms such as heartburn and acid reflux.

Intestinal lining illustration

4. Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. 

Zinc carnosine has shown promising therapeutic effects in the management of IBD by lowering intestinal inflammation and supporting the regeneration of intestinal mucosal cells. 

Zinc also strengthens the gut’s immune defenses, and there is evidence that a zinc deficiency can significantly increase the risk of developing IBD. 


5. Gastrointestinal permeability 

The intestinal layer is a sophisticated structure that allows nutrients to enter the circulation while providing a barrier to harmful pathogens and toxins.

However, this barrier can become damaged and inflamed, allowing unwanted molecules to enter the body, a condition also known as intestinal permeability or leaky gut, which can trigger immune responses and inflammation within intestinal tissue.

Zinc carnosine can prevent and even reverse intestinal permeability by reducing inflammation and promoting the secretion of mucus which forms a protective barrier within the small intestines. 

6. Gastrointestinal Inflammation 

Gastrointestinal inflammation plays a significant factor in the development of ulcers, intestinal permeability, colon cancer, and IBD.

Zinc carnosine has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that inhibit the production of proinflammatory molecules while, at the same time, stimulating immune cells within the intestinal layer to secrete potent anti-inflammatory compounds.  

7. Speeds up gastrointestinal wound healing 

Taking zinc carnosine promotes the wound healing of external wounds and helps to repair damaged intestinal tissue. 

Zinc carnosine regulates the proliferation and migration of several cell types involved in wound healing, such as fibroblasts and epithelial cells, and enhances collagen synthesis, an essential structural component that repairs damaged tissues. 

Woman reading nutritional supplement label

Potential risks and side effects of zinc carnosine

Because of its impressive gastrointestinal health benefits, zinc carnosine has become a popular health food supplement that is generally well tolerated and considered safe.

However, zinc carnosine can trigger gastrointestinal discomfort in some sensitive individuals. While these symptoms are typically mild and transient, more severe reactions can occur, and it’s best to avoid taking zinc carnosine if you develop nausea, stomach pain, bloating, or diarrhea.

In addition, some individuals are allergic to components of the zinc carnosine chelate compound and can experience rashes and hives.

If you develop symptoms of a severe allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock, such as wheezing, swelling, or difficulty breathing, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider immediately.

Woman with stomach pain

Who should take zinc carnosine?

Zinc carnosine is typically taken by individuals seeking to support their gastrointestinal tract and those with gastrointestinal disorders.

Zinc carnosine has been found beneficial for the following conditions:

  • Gastric and duodenal ulcers 

  • Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD)

  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis 

  • H. pylori infection

  • Intestinal permeability

Taking zinc carnosine can also benefit people with impaired mucosal function due to alcohol consumption, stress, or taking NSAIDs, antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, and chemotherapeutic drugs.

The safety of zinc carnosine during pregnancy and breastfeeding hasn’t been extensively studied, and it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before using zinc carnosine if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

How much zinc carnosine is safe to use?

The correct dose of zinc carnosine will depend on the exact formulation of the supplement you are using. In general, it’s recommended to take between 40 to 80 mg twice daily to support gastrointestinal health.

It’s important to carefully read and follow the instructions on the product label. Although rare, taking too much zinc can lead to zinc toxicity and cause symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, headaches, and copper deficiency.

Taking a supplement

When to take zinc carnosine

Zinc carnosine can be taken on an empty stomach. However, taking it with food enhances absorption and lowers the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort. 

In addition, it’s recommended to take zinc carnosine divided into multiple doses. Zinc carnosine is rapidly taken up and metabolized by gastric mucosal cells, and taking it in two doses helps to maintain stable concentrations, which allows for maximum effectiveness.   

How long does it take to see benefits?

How long it takes to see benefits from taking zinc carnosine depends on several factors, including your overall health, the specific condition addressed, and the supplement formulation. 

Reducing intestinal inflammation and healing the gastric mucosa takes time, and it may be a few weeks or even months before you notice any improvements.

While some individuals find relief from gastrointestinal symptoms quickly, others have to take zinc carnosine consistently for extended periods to improve intestinal conditions, including gastric ulcers, IBD, or GERD.

Cheerful woman with a healthy digestive tract

Key takeaways

Zinc carnosine has potentially powerful benefits for gastrointestinal health and has been shown to support the integrity of the gastric mucosa and improve symptoms of stomach ulcers, acid reflux, IBD, and gastrointestinal inflammation.  

This unique complex of elemental zinc and l-carnosine is significantly more effective than taking zinc alone. Zinc carnosine is generally well tolerated and typically taken in doses ranging from 40 to 80 mg twice daily.  


1. When should I take zinc carnosine?

Taking zinc carnosine with food enhances its absorption, and dividing it into two doses daily helps to increase its effectiveness.


2. How long should I take zinc carnosine?

It’s recommended to take zinc carnosine consistently for a few months. Depending on the severity of the gastrointestinal disorder, it can take weeks or even months to reduce inflammation and improve the health of the intestinal lining. 


3. What are the side effects of zinc carnosine?

Zinc carnosine is generally well tolerated. However, some individuals are sensitive to compounds in zinc carnosine which can trigger gastrointestinal discomfort or allergic reactions. 


4. Does zinc carnosine heal leaky gut?

Yes, zinc carnosine may help heal a leaky gut. Zinc carnosine promotes the mucosa's integrity and reduces inflammation, allowing the intestinal lining to regenerate. 

5. What is zinc carnosine good for?

Zinc carnosine has several potential health benefits, particularly in promoting gastrointestinal health. It’s believed to support the integrity of the intestinal lining, lower gastrointestinal inflammation, and help the healing of gastric ulcers and intestinal permeability. 

6. How long does it take for zinc carnosine to work?

While some people notice improvements after taking zinc carnosine for a couple of weeks, others benefit from taking zinc carnosine for several months to improve intestinal conditions, including gastric ulcers, IBD, or GERD.

7. How much zinc carnosine should I take?

It’s generally recommended to take between 40 to 80 mg of zinc carnosine twice daily. 

8. Can you get zinc l-carnosine from food?

No, the zinc l-carnosine complex isn’t naturally found in foods. It’s manufactured in pharmaceutical laboratories by chelating zinc with the amino acid l-carnosine.  

9. Does zinc carnosine decrease gut inflammation?

Yes, zinc carnosine has potent anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates immune cells within the gastrointestinal lining to produce anti-inflammatory compounds.

10. Can zinc carnosine reduce stomach acidity?

Zinc carnosine supports balanced stomach acid production, which prevents excessive stomach acidity linked to acid reflux and heartburn and an increased risk of gastric ulcers.


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